June’s ex-partner & ‘other parent’ conflict peak

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In every separated family situation there are going to be times of the year that are just not as good as others when it comes to co-parenting and feeling as though the other parent is choosing to act in the best interests of their children. You know, holding in appropriate esteem and not shooting you in the back over whatever bee is in their bonnet about your current life choices and so forth.

Those times are often predictable if you new your former partner well. They can hit around significant dates of themselves and others – birthdays, funerals, anniversaries of pregnancy loss or the loss of a child. They can be mood related for those who are affected by seasonal affective disorder. It can also peak around times of financial stress such as Christmas but can stretch right into April or May as some stretch to repay credit card debt racked up over the Christmas and New Year period as they also face their back to school costs as well.

But for some families, there is a particularly nasty time of increased conflict and backstabbing that seems to crop up around now for some and with the help of another mother I have been able to pin the reason down at last! It is 100% financial.

Now let me be clear that for those of us who do the right thing it is not a problematic season as we roll into a new tax year. However, for those ex-partners who are known to ‘game’ the Child Support system this is the time of year where their play can potentially come and bite them in the backside.

You see, now is the time of year that they will be getting a letter that looks a lot like this:

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An example letter from the ATO (NSW version). Copy provided with consent. Original image rights belong to SMM. 


As I said, for those of us who do the right thing, this time of year should not matter. Either we have done our taxes or, if we receive one of these letters, probably forgot to submit a non-lodgement declaration after earning less than the tax free threshold and were not claiming back any tax paid.

For those who have under-declared their income to the Child Support Agency and have avoided doing their tax return for a couple of years to avoid the bill catching up it is a completely different story though. On receipt of this letter it is a time when they are reminded that their questionable choices are going to bite them in the backside. (Gosh, thinking about it I am glad that Jeremy and I do the right thing!)

On receipt of the letter people who have tried to manipulate the system have two choices. The first option is to get off their backside and do their tax and make arrangements to pay the outstanding difference owed with the Child Support Agency (CSA). The second option is to delay and avoid which leaves the CSA no choice but to recalculate their income based on the total of their Pay As You Go summaries for the financial year that passed two years earlier without allowing for deductions resulting in the smacking of them with an even bigger debt then they would otherwise be due to pay.

Yep, players be played. The system does catch up with them eventually when it comes to under-declaration and avoidance of tax finalisation. It just takes two or so years for those cogs to be turning.

So, if the other parent of your children has suddenly become vindictive and nasty to you, your current partner or is simply stabbing the knife in your back when anyone will listen for what appears to rhyme or reason at all right around this time of year then, just maybe, this might be the reason why.

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